Welcome to Atlantic

Trip Start Jun 12, 2012
Trip End Oct 18, 2012

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Flag of Canada  , New Brunswick,
Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Howdy folks,

In the morning, we decided to all take it easy and leave at lunchtime. It was good to plan a bit more of the day rather than rushing straight off. It has been harder to plan the trip the further along we have gone because we weren't so sure of the route and attractions. We have been staying longer in big cities as well which makes it harder to get back onto the road. Before we left Quebec, we had to take a look at the Montmorency Falls which were a few kilometres down the road. If I had known that parking would have been $10.50, I would have parked on a side street, but that is travelling for you. We parked at the Villa which is located right next to the falls and it was pretty busy. Near the car park was a gondola which could take you up or down the canyon to the bottom if you were feeling like you couldn’t walk all the way around. We did walk across the bridge at the top and at 82m, the falls are bigger than Niagara Falls although not quite as impressive. There wasn’t a huge flow of water cascading down the cliffs, but we thought it was worth it to walk down the 466 steps (thanks Steffie) to the bottom and climb them all the way to the top again. Certainly a test of fitness, but we all made it back to the car.

It was a pretty warm day and we were definitely sweating so I had to change into some shorts. Before we left Quebec City, we had to fill up the car for the 275km drive east. Unfortunately the boundary of the St Lawrence River required us to drive south and across the bridge before we could continue. We managed to navigate the highway exits and were soon continuing on the Trans-Canada Highway. It was a pretty uneventful drive and we had to stop at Rivière-du-Loup to get some supplies. Our destination was Cabano just before the New Brunswick border. We had planned to stay at a hotel in Edmunston, but Steffie found a cheap room instead. It turned out that at this tiny lakeshore town was an international hostel and we were the only guests. There was one French girl who was recently hired to run it midweek and that was it!

To cool down we decided to go for a walk by the lake and found it to be not too cold. I went back to get some swimmers and go for a dip, but Steffie wasn’t keen to come in all the way because of the pond weed. We went back to cook dinner and ended up having a few drinks with Elise on the patio because it was so warm inside. It’s always hard sleeping in such a hot building, I guess tenting has made me too hard!

We took our sweet time getting ready and had nobody rushing us out of the door. We said our goodbyes to Elise and hit the highway around 11am. Pretty soon we reached the border and said a long tearful goodbye to Quebec and crossed into the Atlantic Timezone. This is 5th time zone we’ve changed into: Mountain, Pacific, Mountain, Central, Eastern and Atlantic. We’ll make one more change when we head back to the States, but I guess that shows we’ve been doing some driving!

We decided to make a stop at Grand Falls and we pulled up to the visitor information centre where there is a zip line course. I had never done it before and so I convinced the girls to give it a shot. Basically it’s a harness that you clip onto a giant flying fox and shoot over the canyon. It sounds pretty neat and I was a little bit nervous as they were giving us instructions and clipping us onto the wire. In reality it wasn’t exactly an adrenaline rush (compared to some other nutty stuff I’ve done). It was a good chance to push the girls into giving it a go and they both passed with flying colours.

Two hours later and it was time to get moving. I’d set up some couch surfing with Mitchell in Fredericton which is the capital city of New Brunswick. We picked up some hot dogs for dinner in Woodstock. After already passing the Heinz Factory in Ontario, we passed Ahh McCain you’ve done it again and the French Fry Capital of the World as well as the World’s Longest Covered Bridge in Hartland and the Giant Axe in Nackawic. No time for any of those shenanigans, we stuck to the highway to make it to Fredericton at 7pm. Mitch turned out to be a really nice Army guy from Vancouver who took us out to have a drink with some of his Army buddies for Margarita Mondays at a local Mexican joint. It was a good time and they certainly have interesting jobs as bomb disposal experts.

All three of us slept in his spare bedroom in his basement although we had the house to ourselves in the morning. I had been delaying having a shave and a haircut from Banff so it was time to bite the bullet and see a barber. It’s been pretty had to find a good one and I ended up picking a cheap one downtown. The beard came off in no time and the haircut wasn’t great, but for $13 I guess you can’t complain. It was a bit of a shock to the girls to see me with a lot less hair!

There wasn’t much to see in Fredericton except the Provincial Government building and that was pretty small. I wasn’t even sure if it was open to the public and the cheap wooden wheelchair ramp and the gravel driveway didn’t do the building justice. Inside were basically 2 security guards and nobody else around. We had a look around by ourselves and it didn’t take long. The spiral staircase was cool and the legislature seating had some pretty big ceilings. It was time to roll.

This part of the trip was sort of unplanned as we had decided to take the southern highway instead of the northern highway. As a result by the time we got to Sussex we had to take some time to work out the finer details. It was also a bit stressful because Steffi wasn’t having a great time and had decided to fly home early. We ended up having an honesty session and got most of the issues resolved, but it ate up most of the afternoon. As a result we had to set up camp in Fundy National Park instead of driving to Hopewell Rocks first. It was raining so we set up pretty quickly and headed undercover to cook dinner. It was nice to be back in a national park again, it almost felt like home. It was also Steffie’s last night before her birthday!
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